There’s One At Every Show

I’ve been going to rock shows for thirty years. Over the years, I’ve seen maybe a hundred and fifty shows in outdoor sheds, arenas, small theaters, and dive bars. At most of the shows I’ve seen, there’s always that one guy. You know the guy I’m talking about. At my first Rush concert in March 1988, a drunk kid who couldn’t have been more than fifteen decided that it would be a good idea to stagger up to the tenth row and crowd between my friends and I as the band was performing “Tom Sawyer.” We asked him to go back to his seat. He refused, so we pushed his narrow ass back into the aisle. End of dispute.

At another Rush show in 2002, my wife and I were sitting about six rows from the stage. Before the show, I noticed a guy sitting six or seven seats to our right. He was downing beers like it was Prohibition Eve. The drunker he got, the more he started messing with people in front of him, poking them, trying to convince them of his comedic genius. People laughed at him for a while, but when he didn’t stop, they began to get annoyed. This continued throughout most of the show. I thanked my lucky stars that this guy was leaving us alone…until Rush started playing their Grammy-nominated instrumental “YYZ.” At this point her made his way down the aisle toward my wife and I, and inserted himself between us. I asked him to go back to his seat. He refused, insisting that the seat was his. At this point, I moved him past my wife toward his seat. He turned around to face me, and bumped his chest into me, attempting to get past me. He was about 5’7″, maybe a hundred and sixty pounds. I’m six-foot, two-thirty. Before I could even process what had just happened, my hands shot out, and I shoved him. He went ass-over-teakettle back toward his seat, and was eventually escorted from the concert.

On Friday, March 13, 2015, I took my daughter Riley, along with her friend Jansen, to see southern rock band Blackberry Smoke at the Old National Center in Indianapolis. I purchased priority passes, which would allow us early entry into the venue, a standing-room-only affair in the Egyptian Room. We arrived about two hours before the doors opened. There were maybe twenty-five people in line in front of us. I knew that we would end up close to the stage, and was excited that the kids would get to see a great band so close up.

When we finally got into the Egyptian Room, we placed ourselves just a bit to the left of center. There was a row of people in front of us leaning on the barrier that separated the audience from the stage. We were ten feet from the stage. The first of two opening acts came on stage at 8pm, played a few songs, and was followed by a band called The Temperance Movement. The lead singer was very energetic, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the show…everyone, that is, except for a guy in front and a couple of feet to the right of us. Suddenly, he began pointing and gesturing to the lead singer, and it wasn’t to congratulate him on his fine performance. The guy’s girlfriend immediately got in front of him, because it appeared that he was going to jump the barrier and go after the lead singer. The girlfriend spent the rest of The Temperance Movement’s show trying to talk some sense into her boyfriend. I’m not sure what the singer did to draw the guy’s ire, but I am certain that the guy was drunk and acting like a dickhead. ‘There’s one at every show,’ I thought.

As it turned out, there was more than one at this show. Blackberry Smoke took the stage at around 9:45pm. Within about 15 minutes, I noticed a ruckus to my right. There was a little guy, maybe 5’6″, holding his girlfriend’s hand, attempting to push his way to the front of the crowd. He was wearing what looked like a leather biker vest, complete with a top rocker. Turns out it was a Black Label Society vest. En masse and like a well-oiled machine, the crowd pushed and shoved this guy and his lady friend back to where they came from, but not before the guy got in someone’s face for taking his beer. ‘Okay, so there are two at this show,’ I thought.

Wrong again. There were two more instances of what I described above – one to our right and one to our left. Both instances nearly led to fistfights, with drunken idiots being the aggressors in both instances. As if all this wasn’t bad enough, there were two ladies who were so drunk that they could hardly stand up, though through some miracle of physics, they were able to hold each other up.

I realize that not everyone is in agreement on what defines fun, but when you having fun is disruptive to others, potentially puts others in danger, and turns you into an asshole, do us all a favor and stay home. Most of the people at the front of the room waited in the rain for hours before the show, and held their spots up front so that they could enjoy what turned out to be an excellent concert. You, on the other hand, showed up late and thought that it was okay to drunkenly and rudely shove others out of your way to make it to the stage. Try not drinking so much next time. You might be surprised at the good time you have, and you’ll be much less likely to have conflicts with others.

In the interest of transparency, I am a recovering alcoholic. I have been drunk and acted like an asshole many, many times. I don’t have a problem with people who drink in a responsible manner. Turns out, I couldn’t. That’s why I quit drinking in 1996. I will say that I never attended a concert under the influence of anything other than the music. I always figured “Why pay good money to go to a concert and get so drunk I couldn’t remember it?”

 

 

 

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Book Review: Germ Warfare (of the Corporate Kind) by Noel Warnell

41xdnMqsw8L._SS300_Title: Germ Warfare (of the Corporate Kind)

Author: Noel Warnell

Genre: Humor/Self-Help

Series or Standalone: Standalone

Summary

This hilarious debut book is the result of 15 years ‘in the trenches’ research in workplace diseases and by reading it you’ll take a giant leap towards a happier and healthier place to work, for yourself and others as you: • become aware of the 25 disgusting diseases lurking in your office • discover how to quickly and easily identify symptoms • receive expert guidance on how to disrupt and destroy them.

4 STARS

Review

I read this book in less than an hour, and spent a good portion of the time chuckling to myself. You see, I work for a mental health provider. A few years ago, I left my job as director of one of the organization’s outpatient offices to write grants full-time. With the change in job came a change in the location of my office. I went from having my own office with a door that I could shut to working in a large suite of offices and cubicles. As it worked out, I ended up stuck in a cubicle. I went from working in an office filled with mostly social worker types to working in an office filled with all manner of administrative staff (IT, accounting, billing, human resources, etc.).

I wish I’d had a copy of Germ Warfare when I started my new job on cubicle island. It would have saved me a lot of frustration, and would perhaps have slowed the graying of my hair. I won’t run down the different types of corporate diseases, such as “Bitchy-witchy”, “Verbositoxis” or “Fluff,” but I will say that as I read the book and thought about my workplace, I could identify with many of them. Hell, I have symptoms of a couple of them myself. I highly recommend that you buy a copy and stow it in your desk. I recommend taking it with you for your 9am visit to stall #1 – you know, after the coffee and oatmeal kick into high gear.

Bottom line: This a quick and funny read that sheds a humorous light on the different types of people we encounter at work.

Reviewer’s Note: I received a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Album Review: Blackberry Smoke – Holding All The Roses

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Title: Holding All The Roses

Artist: Blackberry Smoke

Genre: Southern Rock/Country Rock

5 STARS

 

Review

With songs as diverse as the dishes of food on Grandma’s Sunday afternoon dinner table, Holding All The Roses, the fourth studio album from Atlanta’s Blackberry Smoke, is a record that shows a band that is maturing, both musically and thematically. And is if that wasn’t enough, the record, which was produced by Brendon O’Brien (AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen), just sounds great.

Lyrically, Charlie Starr sings of love lost on “Living in the Song,” revenge on “Paybacks a Bitch”, narcissism and the need for some people to be the center of attention on “Wish in One Hand”, and the destructive power of drugs and hopelessness on the heartbreakingly honest “Too High.”

Musically, the band is in top form throughout the album. The first track, “Let Me Help You (Find the Door),” is a solid southern rock song that hits you right between the eyes. The title track is a great bit of southern boogie, with great acoustic guitar and fiddle interplay, followed by a rocking electric guitar solo. “Rock and Roll Again,” the first song I heard via streaming prior to the release of the album, is a fun song with an old time rock n roll vibe, with a little edgy electric guitar thrown in for good measure. “Lay It All on Me” is a simple country song that is held together with Brandon Still’s piano and keyboard work, along with some fine steel guitar.

Blackberry Smoke’s rhythm section, consisting of Brit Turner on drums and Richard Turner on bass guitar, lays a solid foundation throughout the album. Brandon Still’s keyboards, though understated much of the time, really shine through, particularly when he’s providing thoughtful texture with what sounds like a Hammond B-3 organ. The guitar duo of Charlie Starr and Paul Jackson is a solid as any duo out there in country music and southern rock. Charlie Starr’s vocals are distinctly southern – soft and melodic, loud and gruff – perfect for the band’s music.

Though I’m a self-professed prog-rock snob, Blackberry Smoke came onto my radar in 2013 when I was flipping through the channels and came across one of their concerts. What I saw and heard took me back to 70s-era southern rock – Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, Blackfoot, and Molly Hatchett – stuff I listened to on WFBQ-Indianapolis as a preteen and teenager. Blackberry Smoke’s heartfelt music and honest lyrics about everyday problems really appealed to me. I immediately went out and purchased all of their music. Holding All The Roses has all of that and more. The music has a universal appeal that is sure to span genres and generations. Thanks for keeping it real guys!